Newseum Puts the Media on Display

Public confidence in journalism has been on a steady decline, but a new museum celebrating the profession aims to change that.

The Newseum, which relocated from Arlington, Va., to a spot near the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has a mission to help the public and the media better understand each other. It features interactive exhibits, including a game that allows visitors to test their journalistic ethics and a video set-up that simulates reporting from the White House.

But not everyone is pleased. Jack Shafer, who writes a column about the media for Slate.com, calls the Newseum a "vanity operation."

"It's a place to say look how heroic we've been in the defense of democracy and whatnot," says Shafer.

The total price tag for the Newseum is about $450 million, and Shafer wishes some of that money would have gone toward advancing journalism, especially at a time when cuts to newsrooms across the country have been so severe.

Still, the Newseum is impressive; located in a spectacular, glass-and-steel building, it features 14 main galleries and 15 theaters. And while it's hard to say if the Newseum will change anyone's mind about journalists, on a recent visit, the people playing the journalistic ethics game were definitely having a good time.

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